Clearwater Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer

April 20, 2023 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

If you're a parent, a guardian, or a sexual abuse victim and want to claim compensation from the perpetrator, you can seek the help of a Clearwater sexual abuse lawyer. Child sexual abuse cases and claims can be emotionally draining. Legal help in pursuing the justice you deserve can be helpful.

Child sexual abuse is prevalent in the U.S. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC), about 16% of youths in the U.S. aged between 14 and 17 years are sexually victimized every year. Also, children between 7 and 13 years are most vulnerable to sexual abuse.

Understanding Child Sexual Abuse

Victims of sexual abuse predominantly suffer at the hands of people they know or trust, such as family or clergy members. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), only 7% of child abuse perpetrators are strangers. Child sexual abuse can take many different forms, such as:

  • Unwanted touching
  • Molestation
  • Indecent exposure
  • Vulgar or lascivious conduct
  • Sexual assault or battery
  • Statutory rape
  • Sexual threats or harassment
  • Exposure to or production of pornography
  • Clergy sexual abuse

Sexual abuse or assault victims can file criminal and civil action. The criminal law process will prosecute the perpetrator as per the state laws. The defendant could face jail time and other penalties. However, the process doesn't involve monetary compensation for the victim. To claim compensation for the economic and non-economic damages, including physical, mental, and emotional injuries, the victim or plaintiff can also file a civil claim.

Remember the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Personal Injury Cases

Previously, several states had deadlines for filing sexual abuse lawsuits. However, this law has changed over time. Unlike other civil lawsuits with a defined deadline or statute of limitations, victims of sexual abuse can file a claim against the perpetrators even years or decades after the ordeal. 

Donna's Law protects child sexual abuse survivors in Florida. Survivors that were molested under the age of 16 will not have a timeline to file a lawsuit. This means that even adults who suffered sexual abuse when they were younger can have the opportunity of claiming compensation. 

However, in some cases, especially if the perpetrator was not convicted in a criminal trial, filing a civil lawsuit can be challenging. The victim may have to prove that the defendant committed the abuse to file a claim. Your lawyer will help you understand more about this claim, eligibility, and legal options.

How do You File a Child Sexual Abuse Claim?

A child, parent, or legal caregiver has the right to sue for child sexual abuse. Also, the caregiver or parent can sue for the harm or emotional distress that stems from the abuse. 

To prove a child abuse claim, your lawyer will use the child's medical records, including proof of treatment, physiotherapy, counseling, and a victim's signed statement of truth. If the victim is a minor, the parent or caregiver can give a statement on their behalf. 

Your lawyer must also prove that the victim was at the location of the abuse, which can be the school, church, or residence. 

Damages You Could Claim in a Clearwater Child Sexual Abuse Case

Since child sexual abuse is both a criminal and civil case, the survivors of the ordeal can recover compensation for the economic and non-economic damages they incurred due to the abuse. The damages that a victim can claim include:

  • Current and future medical bills: If the child sustained physical injuries that require medication or hospitalization, they could claim compensation for any medical-related expenses.
  • Pain and suffering: This compensates the victim for the physical or emotional pain they endured due to the abuse.
  • Current and future mental health treatment: Sexual abuse can have long-lasting emotional and mental effects. A victim may require psychological treatment or therapy to deal with the impact of the ordeal. This damage covers all cognitive health-related costs.

Child sexual abuse victims can claim compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorder, depression, or any adverse effects of the abuse. Adults who suffered sexual abuse when they were young can claim drug and alcohol abuse, criminal tendencies, or difficulty holding employment. 

In some cases, the court can also award victims punitive damages, especially in the possibility of exemplary and aggravated damages. This mainly occurs in extreme abuse or circumstances, and the court wishes to make an example of the perpetrator.

Why Hire a Clearwater Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer?

Every child sexual abuse claim is different. Whether you can file a lawsuit and what to claim will depend on the factors of your case. However, anybody can file a sexual abuse claim, including:

  • Adult survivors who were victims of sexual abuse as minors
  • Parents seeking justice for their children
  • A minor advocating for themselves 

While children have a right to claim compensation, facing a perpetrator can be very challenging. Child sexual abuse lawyers know how best to handle such claims while protecting the child's privacy. Your lawyer will:

  • Liaise with the proper authorities to ensure the child's safety
  • Investigate the case and gather evidence
  • Identify all liable parties
  • Determine the damages to pursue and the claim's value
  • Negotiate a fair settlement or award

Your lawyer will help you fight for your rights and seek closure. Child sex abuse lawyers work with experts, witnesses, and relevant authorities to ensure that the perpetrators take full responsibility for their actions and that the victims get justice. Stepping forward and claiming compensation could help expose other unforgivable practices in the community and ensure that no other child becomes a victim of abuse. 

Contact Dolman Law Group for a Free Case Review

If you were abused at home, school, or church, you could have a right to claim compensation. These cases can be overwhelming, but hiring a Clearwater child abuse lawyer can help you wade through the process. 

Our team is prepared to fight for your rights at Dolman Law Group and offer you responsive legal help to file a claim or lawsuit against the perpetrator. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 N Belcher Rd
Clearwater, FL 33765
Phone: (727) 451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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